With the conclusion of the surprisingly positive 2013 Columbus Blue Jackets season, the Union Blue team saw no choice but to honor as many deserving Blue Jackets players as possible. So over the next few weeks we will be slowly unveiling our rankings for every single award given out by the NHL (minus the Art Ross, Rocket Richard, William Jennings, and saldly, the Conn Smythe). Each tUB contributor (AlisonL, Canadan, CBJProspects, DerDrache, and myself), will rank three players per award (with one obvious exception), and provide an explanation for each of our rankings. These ranks will then be combined to determine who the tUB team feels deserves each award. Up first, we have the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top rookie performer. The potential Calder winners were: Dalton Prout, Tim Erixon, Cody Goloubef, Nick Drazenovic, Sean Collins, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, and Nick Holden. Drumroll please………. Continue reading 2013 tUB Awards: The Calder Memorial Trophy
A huge hard fought win for the Blue Jackets finally brings them into sole possession of a playoff birth. A great road game from the Jackets paid off huge, even though it looked like it might slip away from them in the 3rd period. Sergei Bobrovsky was his usual stellar self, only really getting beat on one goal. I’m not going to break down that ridiculous Dave Steckel goal (which even Puck Daddy thought was very strange), other than to say that it could have broken the team. Goals like that are the ultimate deflators. It could have ended the Jackets in this game, which probably would have ended their season. Instead, they didn’t miss a beat, tied it up a few minutes later, and pulled it off in overtime (again). You can’t praise the heart of this team enough. Let’s take a closer look at the goals: Continue reading Goal Breakdowns @ Anaheim 4/17
Ah, Hockeysfuture.com – the hockey fans main resource for info on your team’s future stars along with it’s sister site of a place to kill brain cells/have a few laughs (HFBoards). Recently, they posted the Jackets top 20 prospects and, well, as the fanbase’s resident guru/geek (whichever you prefer) I went over the list and, much like The Hockey News list featured in my State of the Prospect Pool post, I’ve got some issues. Much like THN’s list, in my opinion it still feels like “hey what are you guys doing here?”, in addition to having a few rank order problems. It was pointed out to me that HF has criteria of what it qualifies as a prospect but since this is my post I’m gonna give my own take on HF’s and then post my list.
First things first lets look at theirs:
- D Ryan Murray
- F Cam Atkinson
- D Tim Erixon
- F Boone Jenner
- G Oscar Dansk
- D David Savard
- F Jonathan Audy-Marchessault
- D Cody Goloubef
- D Dalton Prout
- D Austin Madaisky
- G Joonas Korpisalo
- D Mike Reilly
- F T.J. Tynan
- G Allen York
- F Lukas Sedlak
- F Michael Chaput
- F Daniel Zaar
- F Seth Ambroz
- D Will Weber
- F Spencer Machacek Continue reading My Take on HockeysFuture.com Top 20 CBJ prospect list
It’s that time again! Trade deadline! The Blue Jackets have provided us such a whirlwind of a March that no one seems to know for sure if Jarmo and JD shall be buyers, sellers or standard bearers at the close Wednesday’s activities. With that in mind, all of us at the Union Blue decided to have a little fun. We challenged ourselves to each come up with the top three players we would keep, and the top three players we would deal. There were a few guidelines:
1. Only players who have dressed for the Blue Jackets team this season are eligible for consideration
2. Sergei Bobrovsky is excluded from consideration (given his quality play lately, we figured we’d all pick him anyway)
3. Players who have a no-movement or no-trade clause are still eligible for our lists, but the designation should be noted with an “NMC” or “NTC”.
So welcome to a little time inside our brains. Remember, this is what we want to happen, not what we think will happen…read along, see if you agree with any of us, or sound off in the comments as to why we might just be crazy. We’ll be watching…we may have some off-side wagers involved as well!
The Blue Jackets wrapped up a Canadian tour last night in Calgary and both fan bases were curious to see what team would show up for their side. Columbus was looking to finally get a regulation win on the road with back-up Steve Mason in net, and Flames faithful were curious to see how their team would respond in their first outing since Jerome Iginla was traded.
Right off the bat, my new favorite line of 11-42-13 was buzzing – creating some opportunities and providing some sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Cam Atkinson had a beautiful opportunity off a pass from Matt Calvert that he just couldn’t convert. But this energy set the tone for the arrival of the other lines on ice. While on the PK, Mark Letestu buried a short-handed goal to put the Jackets up 1-0. Shortly after, Dalton Prout and Tim Jackman engaged in a bout at middle ice that Prout won soundly and certainly brought many cheers from the group of friends I was with game-watching. Prouter certainly seems to be impressing in his time up with the big club and the long term defensive picture got a little more cloudy for all the right reasons as another quality candidate is showing us he’s here to play.
Like last year, The Hockey News Future Watch issue is out and that means its time for me to go over what the Jackets have coming down the pipeline. Last year’s issue gave the Jackets prospects a C+ (the grades are decided by a panel of NHL scouts – 14 last year, 15 this year) placing the CBJ 24th. I’ll be honest with you, I figured the CBJ would either stay about the same, or even drop, but I was wrong. The Jackets group of prospects jumped up seven spots to 17th earning a grade of B. I’m guessing the drafting of Ryan Murray second overall and two of the top draft European goalie prospects helped this grade. The last two top 10s feature six players that appear in both.
|1||David Savard||Ryan Murray|
|2||Boone Jenner||Boone Jenner|
|3||Matt Calvert||Tim Erixon (NYR #1 in 2012)|
|4||Cam Atkinson||Oscar Dansk|
|5||Tomas Kubalik||Cam Atkinson|
|6||Dalton Smith||Matt Calvert|
|7||Dalton Prout||David Savard|
|8||Mike Reilly||Michael Chaput|
|9||Michael Chaput||Joonas Korpisalo|
|10||Cody Goloubef||Mike Reilly|
We’re officially at the halfway point, so I thought I would take a look back at my preseason individual goal predictions, the team predictions, and what to expect moving forward. First things first, lets start off with the team totals. My predictions had them finishing with a +2 goal differential over 82 games (or about +1 for 48 games), if they could raise their team save percentage from .903 to .910. Unfortunately, they are currently sitting at a -15 goal differential. The problem here hasn’t been just scoring or defense. I had them at 64 goals through 24 games and they are only 9 goals below that. On the defensive side, improvement was dependent upon raising the save percentage from .903 to .910, but it has actually dropped to .902. A jump to .910 would have reduced the first half goals against by 8. Aside from the predictions, the team has greatly improved so far this season. With league average shooting percentage and save percentage, the Jackets would be at a -6 goal differential (based on 60 goals for and 66 goals against). The Blue Jackets -60 full season goal differential from last year equates to a -17 over 24 games. For some perspective a -6 goal differential would tie them with Nashville, while a -17 would tie them with Edmonton.
The Blue Jackets took down the Oilers 4-3 in the shootout last night. This was a rare game where a team pulled their goalie and it actually ended up in a win. I wish I could talk here about the tactics of pulling a goalie to give the team a jump, but that just wasn’t the case last night. Instead, Steve Mason was relatively terrible (all three goals were stoppable), Sergei Bobrovsky was very good (especially on the two cross crease saves in overtime), and the entire Jackets roster put in a full 65 minutes. Well except for Matty Calvert (tie down the damn tie down!). I would like to highlight the incredibly penalty kill in the 3rd period. The Jackets maintained possession for nearly the entire penalty, they managed a couple of “almost” chances out of it, yet always made the smart play to either maintain possession or get the puck in deep. Great work by Artem Anisimov, RJ Umberger, and everyone else who hit the ice during that kill. Now onto the goals.
The Blue Jackets were downed 5-4 in overtime last night by the Dallas Stars in a game featuring a lot of goals, but not a whole lot of highlight reel offensive plays. Sergei Bobrovsky let in a number of goals he’d like to have back, including the Stars late 3rd go-ahead goal, and the overtime game winner. Heading into the game I had planned on breaking down all of the goals scored, and through most of the 1st period I was worried I’d have nothing to write about. Instead, I’m left with a mess of garbage goals and sloppy play. So with that in mind, I’m going to quickly run through two goals for each team, as there really isn’t much to say about a well played rush that ends in a bank off a leg, or a long floater squeaking in. Continue reading Goal Breakdowns vs. Dallas – 2/26
This week marked a true change of direction in the Blue Jackets organization. The removal of Howson and the introduction of Kekalainen as General Manager showed this franchise that the only sure fire way for stability is success. I believed that massive change would resonate through the dressing room directly into the players, leaving me extremely excited for the game against Los Angeles tonight.
Remarkably, or sadly I suppose, Columbus looked much like the same as we have seen. We saw signs of brilliance but an otherwise dismal effort offensively. Columbus was only able to muster 13 shots on Bernier, who turned away all but one late effort by Foligno.
Sadly, my days of sugarcoating losses are nearing an end. When I see a team rise and fall the way I do with Columbus, I can’t help but leave the game with the mindset that they deserved their fate, and this game is no exception. With the exclusion of the penalty kill which continues to be exceptional, there was nothing really notable about the play on either end of the ice.